Chapter 1

Shin Buddhism in Modern Culture

Chapter 1 – Introduction:  Personal Observations and Perspectives

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Thought Questions

1. Examine your own life. Is your religion something you’ve inherited or something you’ve chosen?

A) If it’s something you’ve inherited, does it fit your life like a comfortable pair of old shoes? Or, is it more like a pair of shoes you’ve outgrown? In short, do you find your religion meaningful to your everyday life?

B) If it’s something you’ve chosen, do you feel there is a gap between your own approach to religion and the approach taken by members born into the tradition? If so, how are you dealing with this gap?

2. Do you have a zenchishiki? Is your zenchishiki a minister? A friend? A book? Before meeting your zenchishiki, what was your attitude toward religion? In what ways has your attitude changed?

3. Think about tradition. What are some of its advantages? What are some of its disadvantages? What happens when traditional religious values break down? Are there specific traditions in your religion that you think should be discarded? What traditions do you think should be preserved? Why?

4. What goals do you have concerning religion? What do you plan to do with the knowledge you may gain from this course?